No decisions on library needs

Published 11:27 am Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A portion of the crowd attending the March 10 meeting in Kelford listen as officials with the West Bertie Community Library talk about their future plans. | Staff Photos by Keith Hoggard

A portion of the crowd attending the March 10 meeting in Kelford listen as officials with the West Bertie Community Library talk about their future plans. | Staff Photos by Keith Hoggard

KELFORD – Organizers of The West Bertie Community Library, formerly known as the Roxobel-Kelford Library, held a meeting at the Kelford Community Center March 10 to see if they could get more community support.

The Library is currently in the Brown Family Flea Market in Roxobel, but Gayle Rimel said during the meeting that it needed to find a new home.

Derrick Flood, president of the library’s Board of Trustees, said the library currently has over 2,000 materials and that its mission is to promote literacy for children and adults.

It hopes to acquire some computers for people to use for research and to fill out job applications because everything is now done online and too many people in the community lack the technology they need.

The library currently gets monthly financial help from both Kelford and Roxobel.

Wesley Dudley, principal of West Bertie Elementary School, was there to show support for the library and its effort to promote literacy in the community.

Dudley said his school library offers a GED program, but doesn’t get as much participation as it should. The West Bertie Community Library also wants to offer this program.

Kelford Mayor Bailey Parker said he was at the meeting for the taxpayers of Kelford, not for the library.

He wanted to know how town funds would be used.

Library officials said they are working to get tax-exempt status to become eligible for grant funds.

Rimel stressed that many people needing library services lack transportation, and need one nearby where they live.

A Roxobel town commissioner agreed with Parker that the library does not have much community support.

Asked how many books have been checked out in the last six weeks, Flood said 20 to 25. He added that internet access is just as important these days for a library as the number of books it has.

Rimel said they had more traffic before moving into the current location.

No decisions about a permanent home for the library were made at this meeting.

The library is currently open only on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Roxobel at Brown’s Family Flea Market.

In an earlier interview, Rimel said that all of western Bertie has been lacking economic development since Hwy. 11 split Bertie County. The vast majority of development has been going eastward, leaving the western portion of Bertie hurting for development.

The Brown Family Flea Market in Roxobel liquidating its assets last year en route to closing. It offered space for the library to house its collection of books and periodicals as well as a place to offer programs, such as story times for children. The library opened there in October of last year.

Prior to moving to that location, the library used facilities in Roxobel and Kelford every month on an alternating basis.

On its first day of operation inside the Flea Market, Rimel recalled a local man coming in and said he had found a building full of books his uncle had. Some had a little mold damage, but most were fine. He offered to donate the entire collection to the library.

When it was known as the Roxobel-Kelford Library, Jeff and Lisa Briley generously stored the books in their warehouse. The Briley’s not only stored the books, but also transported them to the library’s temporary homes on alternating months.

The grassroots effort to start this library began with some donated books sought by volunteers. The library’s collection has grown to more than 2,700 books and 98 percent of them have donated.

On the concept for the library, Rimel said, “We believe the only way to escape from generational poverty is through education.”

She added that one of the biggest barriers to education is the lack of a place for children to read or obtain the reading material children are expected to read outside of class.

The West Bertie Community Library hopes to fill this much needed gap and offer adult and children patrons reading opportunities, but like all other entities providing a public service it needs financial assistance.